We haven’t posted a Christmas Mixtape post before, and I’ve been trying to resist it for a few reasons.
Firstly, Christmas shouldn’t start months before the event, it should just be a few days and I hate walking into shops in the middle of November and already hearing Mariah Carey telling us all that she wants for Christmas. BUT it’s now December 20th so maybe it ok.
Secondly, there are a lot of Christmas songs that are sentimental tripe, then there are a whole other bunch that are just whoever is popular at the moment in time trying to cash in on the season’s merriment. BUT that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a third group that are actually really rather good though. What follows, in my humble opinion, are some of that last group.
Oh, and not only are we posting one Christmas Mixtape but it was getting too long, and according to Rima was all a bit sad sounding, so I’ve split it into two, this more downbeat and melancholy one and a more jumpy and bouncy second part to follow shortly.
This is my quieter and more contemplative festive playlist then, there are some obvious choices in here, hopefully there are enough slightly less obvious ones as well. If you are in the mood for more of this kind of downbeat Christmas music, then you could do a lot worse than just listening to the whole album of ‘Tinsel and Lights’ by Tracey Thorn.
White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin
Let’s kick things off with possibly the most lyrically touching Christmas song out of them all, quite unexpectedly from Tim Minchin. This is Tim’s Christmas love letter to his infant daughter and it’s just sublime.
Another Christmas by Amanda Jenssen
Take a tale of loneliness and heartbreak and stick something that sounds like carolers in the background to create a great Christmas song. It’s a tried and tested timeless formula, you could pick from many, but I really like this one for some reason.
The Christmas Waltz by She and Him
She and Him haven’t just done one Christmas song but two whole albums of them and they are all rather good actually. Zooey’s voice is just easy to listen to and let wash over you, plus unusually for my festive song choices there is nothing sad in it at all.
The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
This is one of those songs that everyone thinks of as a Christmas song (at least in the UK) but actually has nothing to do with Christmas at all, apart from being released at that time of year and reaching #1 in the charts. Oh, and the video with wise men, camels, etc. of course.
The Blizzard by Camera Obscura
This is an old song, Jim Reeves recorded it in 1964. Camera Obscura though are good at taking old songs and making them sound completely their own. Check out their version of Super Trouper if you need more evidence.
O Come, O come Emmanuel by Belle and Sebastian
Let’s go hopping around Scotland, from Camera Obscura to Belle and Sebastian. This is just nice, I don’t have anything particularly clever or insightful to say about it, but I really like it.
Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie
This is a bit of a strange one, an anti-war song that became a Christmas hit. It tells the story of a solider in trenches who wishes he was at home at Christmas, and on a wider scale just depicts the pointlessness of war.
Snow in Sun by Tracey Thorn
As I mentioned at the top of the article, if you want a great Christmas album by one artist then you could do a hell of a lot worse than sticking on Tinsel and Lights.
Listen the Snow is Falling by Thea Gilmore
I know nothing about Thea Gilmore, I just stumbled on this song somewhere the other day and really liked it, which is a good enough reason to include it here. So, here it is.
2000 Miles by The Pretenders
We are moving firmly into Christmas classics territory as we get near to the end of this playlist. The unmistakable voice of Chrissie Hynde singing about, well I’m not sure who actually but they are 2000 miles away in any case.
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues
You knew we were building up to this, right? It’s overplayed, it’s become almost clichê, everyone thinks they know the words when they are drunk but then manages to screw it up at some point, but I still love it.
This song apparently took years to write, and went through several versions before ending up as this tale of an Irish couple who emigrated to the United States and whose dreams did not all come true.
Merry Christmas everyone!